Diabetes is a very common disease. In Italy, 4 million patients have been diagnosed with it, and estimates suggest that another million is not yet diagnosed.

Diabetes occurs when there is excess glucose (sugar) in the blood. Hyperglycemia may depend on an insufficient production of insulin (the hormone that regulates glucose blood levels) or to its misbehavior. There are two types of diabetes: type-1 and type-2. Type-2 diabetes closely relates to the patient’s lifestyle.

According to the World Health Organization, by 2030 diabetes will be the fourth cause of death in Europe. Diabetology experts worry about wrong lifestyles, that may predispose even children to type-2 diabetes.

Treatments for diabetes

Patients with type-1 diabetes have to take insulin, while type-2 diabetics have to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Sometimes a therapy with oral hypoglycemic agents is necessary in order to lower blood sugar levels and increase the quantity of self-produced insulin (or its effectiveness).

Stevia may help

From a nutritional point of view, stevia helps diabetics because it is a natural sweetener, free of calories and glucose.

As Doctor Manuela Pastore, dietitian at Humanitas, explains, “We can introduce stevia in the diet of diabetic patients, because it does not cause glycemic spikes as sucrose (the common sugar), does. Its’ sweetening properties are 300 times less than those of stevia.

Stevia can be used to sweeten beverages and cakes, because heat does not affect it. Moreover, it sweetens many medications and supplements. Diabetics and non-diabetics alike should follow a balanced diet. A sweetener may make a beverage tastier, but calories and nutrients are also an important part of nutrition”.